My experience with ENM has been interesting, to say the least. My personal growth has been the most important to me.
I have learned to communicate better, albeit, it may be difficult at times, I generally have improved. This is a difficult post for me. Only because of the amount the self-realization and self-accountability that is required to even be remotely truthful, is a bit overbearing. So, allow me to apologize if it seems vague because I am definitely trying to talk about something that is ever-changing.
Over the last half-decade,
I have come to better understand open relationships and how to navigate through them. More importantly, I have learned to navigate my feelings and behaviors.
I had to work through getting off the relationship escalator with certain partners for various reasons. I had to come to terms with my own fear and insecurities. Learning that I can feel one way about one partner doing something but not care at all if another does the same thing. These realizations forced me to stop and reevaluate why I was feeling a particular way. It wasn’t so much jealousy. Once I figured out where my negative feelings were coming from, I was able to communicate and work towards a solution.
The relationship escalator is something I still struggle with. It feels nice to have a goal in a relationship, a purpose. While the thought of that is nice, with multiple partners, the feeling is a bit less nice and more nightmarish. I have put myself through a lot of unnecessary stress wondering what purpose a relationship may have. I have come to the conclusion that no purpose is an incredibly valid purpose to have a relationship.
This was also the precursor to figuring out that all relationships are unique and that I couldn’t lop all relationships into the same bucket.
These little realizations
and uncomfortable moments have all had a long-lasting and positive effect on my ability to communicate with my partners because it has given me the tools to manage my own feelings better than ever. When people in the Polyam community talk about doing the “homework” this is what they are talking about. It doesn’t mean they are all relationship gurus. They have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Maybe even some Poly-Friendly therapist or lawyer they can refer.
Polyamory has helped my day to day communication with people outside my polycule. It has helped me become more confident when it comes to communicating how I feel about something and laying down my boundaries. I used to be more cautious of my presence and surrounding to the point where I let myself become fearful of being myself with others. I spent more effort and energy worrying if I was going to offend someone.
After some time it became clear to me that stating my boundaries saved me a ton of trouble. There was some personal conditioning that had to take place and I still struggle with it. That is laying my boundaries down and not feeling bad about doing so. It has allowed me to focus on the aspect that everyone has feelings and needs but I can only worry about myself. I cannot bend and manipulate things to work for everyone around one.
Ethical Non-Monogamy has made me feel like a badass. I am not perfect. I am far from it but I am a badass who can communicate, love, and lay down my boundaries without fear or judgment. I couldn’t be more proud of myself and personal growth over the last few years and I cannot wait to grow more as an individual.
My most recent read was Polyamory And Jealousy by Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux. It was a good refresher and with thought-provoking questions.